Homily – 26th Sunday Ordinary Time

As a matter of curiosity, how many got caught in the Atlantic County? Did anybody get caught in the Atlantic Antic? Georgia, you got caught. Just curious. When I was growing up and a lad in a Catholic school, we had as one of our teachers, Sister Ruth Murray, the sister Ruth Marie was about that tall, but she was a force of nature.

How many of us had religious women who were this tall and were forces of nature? It is a very Catholic experience. It really in. And Sister Ruth Marie was noted for her expressions. So, for example, she would always say to us, Just tell me the truth. If you tell me the truth, you won’t be in as much trouble.

Now, we were in trouble. She was honest. We knew that. But she would let us know that it was going to be better to tell the truth. One of her sayings was Honesty is the best policy. How many of us believe that? Oh, there are a few people in the room. I’m not sure that’s a give or take, really.

Another one of her favorite expressions was if she would tell us to do something or we got in trouble, whatever it might be, and we would say life is not fair, she would say to us, or we would say that wasn’t fair. And she would say to us, Life isn’t fair. A fair is a carnival that you can imagine being ten years old and trying to figure out what that meant.

But still another story, but one that was and still is my favorite of the sister Ruth Murray. Its presence was though a for purgatory. You might miss words. I still live by those little expressions are really important because at the heart of today’s gospel reading is the expression honesty is the best policy. Now, we are fortunate in church this morning that we have a number of two brother pairs, so I see two brothers in front of me.

I see two brothers over here. Where did Michael? There you are. I see two brothers now in today’s Gospel, we have two brothers. One is the good brother, one is the not so good brother. So, gentlemen, which one of you is the good brother? Of course, they both raised their head. Which is the bad brother. So now, Dad, I’m putting you in the middle.

Which one? If you say go clean, your room says Yes, Dad, I’ll go clean my room. And does it Depends on the date. Say fancy. You went with safety of the two of you. Which one is going to say yes, Dad, and then doesn’t do it? One of you is going to say no, Dad, and then we’ll feel guilty and we’ll go and do it.

Oh, so you’re not saying, wait, you both can have it both ways. Oh, but you see the problem whenever we have to, we run into this issue. How many of us say that we understand God’s law, which really comes down to loving God and loving neighbor? We understand it, and we always do it. We always say yes and run out and do it.

Show of hands, please. Who always obeys God’s God’s two commandments? One gentleman that does not fill me with joy, but okay, we’ll go with it. How many of you know God’s law tries to say yes all the time, but occasionally ends up not loving God or loving neighbor? That is why we have the spirit of reconciliation, wonderful sacrament.

Well, we are here today to celebrate that in God’s heart. Each and every one of us is called to know God, to love God, to love our neighbor, and do our best, in all honesty, to follow that command. And today we are welcoming Joe Michael into our midst with the hope that he will always learn from us to love God and love his neighbor.

No. Doesn’t that sound easy? Yes. How easy is that? It’s tough every day, isn’t it? To hear the gospel to what? To say yes to the Lord, knowing that from time to time that yes is going to be no. But that’s okay. It is the honesty that is important for the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing gospels about discipleship.

We have been hearing about kindness, mercy, forgiveness, charity, love. And today we add honesty to that list of what it means to be an intentional disciple. And this morning, we welcome Joe to the saving waters of baptism to grow, to become an intentional disciple, one who chooses Christ Jesus. Now, in the reading we heard the first brother chooses to say yes, but in his heart he has said no.

The other brother says no, but in his heart he chooses to say yes. God prefers what our words or the intentions of our hearts. Hearts always win when we pray. Are we mouthing the correct words. But in our hearts we haven’t changed. Or when we say the words, is it really our hope, our prayer, that we change our hearts as well so that when we go into the world, we are there as living witnesses to the law of God to love?

Now, Adam, in a lot of that’s your job for jail to be those witnesses. So in answer to change of word or change of heart, where do you fall on this? In the middle. You’re all going for safety today. I just want it is all right to lie to me. I’m an old man. I want to hear the right answers every now and then.

But we our prayer this morning is to offer grace and love and charity to this child, to make him a little intentional disciple. And we do that through the Eucharist. And for the past two and a half years, we as a community have been celebrating the Eucharistic revival to remind ourselves that in the faith we are about to hand on, we believe that Christ Jesus is present with body, soul, humanity, divinity in bread and wine that changes through prayer into the body and blood of Christ.

So part of our prayer is that Gio will grow in the faith to know, to love and serve Christ and to be nourished on his body and blood. The witness of faith that changes our hearts. Now, Sister Ruth Marie, don’t aim for purgatory. You might miss means change your hearts. Honesty is the best policy. Just tell me the truth and you won’t be in this much trouble.

Well, Christ, Jesus says to us also, Just be honest and we’ll figure it out. You might be in a little trouble, but we’ll figure it out. Sacrament of Reconciliation. Why? Because all of us have the the new version of the Body and Blood of Christ. And so as we prepare now to baptize this child in faith, let us offer these our prayers for our church and world.